But there are narrower implications for Orthodoxy that Dr. Bouteneff said he hopes the project will address. “What has our liturgical tradition done with that dynamic? And how might that feed into what Pärt is doing?” he asked.

This dichotomy is particularly evident in Mr. Pärt’s 2009 “Adam’s Lament,” his most recent large-scale work and the centerpiece of the Carnegie concert. In a program note, Mr. Pärt described Adam as a “collective term which comprises humankind in its entirety and each individual person alike, irrespective of time, epochs, social strata and confession.”

But embedded within these universalities are the particularities of an Orthodox tradition. “Adam’s Lament” sets text in ecclesiastical Slavic, written by the Russian monk St. Silouan. Mr. Pärt wrote, “I wanted to remain as close as possible to Silouan’s words and, as far as I could, to entrust myself with them, to internalize them.” The music, bleak and majestic, is far from the placid sound world of “Für Alina.” Toward the end, the chorus takes on a declamatory tone, singing in a menacing unison as it describes Adam’s sorrow: “Only the soul that has come to know the Lord and the magnitude of his love for us can understand…”

Excerpts from a New York Times article by W. Robin